Strategic Action Plan
Promoting Hope’s strategy for holistic development in disadvantaged communities involves four interrelated components:
Aquaponic systems are particularly efficient in the production of leafy vegetables. In such systems, nutrient rich water flows from a tank where fish are grown into shallow beds where plants use the nutrients, and together with nitrifying bacteria, filter out those elements that are toxic to the fish. The water then returns to the fish tank in an unending symbiotic cycle beneficial to all. The result for a community is a continual harvest of vegetables, and at the end of a nine-month period, fish (tilapia, in this case) that have grown to at least a pound and a half.
While the advantages of aquaponics are many, a special consideration for Prohope is that where water is scarce, such as in Brazil’s Sertão, aquaponic systems need only replenish water that evaporates from the tanks. These systems also yield much more in smaller spaces than other agricultural methods.
Prohope intends to place 2,000-liter aquaponic systems in targeted communities on the grounds of churches that are already actively engaged in community services and are willing to provide the facilities to house both aquaponic systems and the life-skills courses. Locating these programs in churches avoids having to obtain property, provides security, and stability in environments that may not be safe otherwise. All churches chosen to house Prohope’s programs must agree to follow the procedures outlined in Promoting Hope’s manual, independently of denominational affiliation.
Aquaponic systems will follow a carefully designed model that will guarantee higher productivity of both fish and plants. In addition, Prohope intends to develop solar systems to provide the energy for the pumps and emergency lighting to make these systems less costly to maintain in remote rural communities.
Life skills development program
This program will consist of ongoing classes in the following areas:
Values of a wholesome lifestyle. A lifestyle that fosters decision making that promotes the well-being of individuals, family, and community such as integrity, truthfulness, respect for people regardless of gender, race, religion, age, or physical conditions. Likewise, the value of challenging work, responsible family life and disciplines will be addressed. Other positive values will be included in response to local conditions and needs as identified by local participants.
Aquaponic system theory and operation. An operational manual will be prepared and printed to guide operators of these systems and to provide references for unusual situations that may develop with plants, fish, or the mechanical system.
Introduction to business perspectives: The entrepreneurial mentality, administration, bookkeeping, marketing, investing, etc. While some courses of this kind exist in Brazilian educational systems, access to such is quite limited in remote areas of the Sertão. We will develop our own resources for teaching and modeling these values.
Prohope intends to provide information to families and individuals participating in the Life Skills Development program on how to access micro-loans from Brazilian banks and financial institutions established for that purpose.
Because rural peoples often face significant challenges when attempting to access resources, Prohope will seek ways to facilitate this process so that families or individuals who wish to establish small businesses will be enabled to do so.
Through the life-skills program, Prohope will encourage the development of self-sustaining and self-determining leadership to strengthen and expand aquaponic systems and provide guidance in their communities.
While a separate leadership training program may be developed, initially, Prohope plans to encourage the emergence of leaders who the communities identify, and who then may be provided additional opportunities and instruction.